The Orioles presently sit six games under .500 and 6 1/2 games back of the second American League wild-card spot. And yet, they are on the buyers side of things as they try to shore up the AL’s worst starting rotation.
The Orioles acquired veteran righthander Jeremy Hellickson and cash from the Phillies on Friday night. Hellickson was scheduled to start for the Phillies against the Braves but was scratched shortly before game time.
Hellickson joins an Orioles rotation with a 5.90 ERA. His 4.73 ERA this season would be second-best among Orioles starters.
In return the Phillies received outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, Double-A reliever Garrett Cleavinger, who was the Orioles’ third-round pick in 2015, and international bonus money. It was the Phillies’ second trade of the night after shipping Howie Kendrick to the Nationals.
Garrett Cleavinger, lhp
The Orioles drafted Cleavinger No. 102 overall in 2015 out of Oregon and signed him for a $500,000 bonus. Cleavinger is a reliever exclusively who works mainly with a 90-93 mph fastball and a curveball with life and shape. However, a funky takeaway in his delivery intended to create deception instead causes poor command and extreme bouts of wildness. As a result, his ERA has risen every full-season level he’s climbed and his walks-per-nine rate remains stubbornly above 5.0/9. Evaluators generally see Cleavinger topping out in the high minors, especially as long as his control remains poor.
|Hyun Soo Kim, of
The Orioles signed Kim out of Korea with a two-year, $7 million deal before the 2016 season. The lefthanded-hitting Kim was the Orioles’ de facto starting left fielder against righthanded pitching in 2016 and put up a .302 average and .801 OPS. But the offseason acquisition of Seth Smith and emergence of Trey Mancini cut deeply into Kim’s playing time this year, essentially relegating him to pinch-hit duty, a role in which he’s struggled badly. Kim will have a chance at much more playing time in Philadelphia, especially with Kendrick traded.
Jeremy Hellickson, rhp
The 2011 American League Rookie of the Year struggled to live up to his early accolades and found himself on his third team in three years when he was traded to the Phillies for the 2016 season. He rediscovered what made him successful in the City of Brotherly Love, posting a 4.09 ERA in 52 starts with the Phillies. Hellickson’s changeup is one of the best in baseball and helps compensate for an otherwise undistinguished arsenal. He throws it more than any other pitch and it is his lone, true swing-and-miss offering. While not flashy, Hellickson is reliable and durable. He is on pace to make at least 27 starts for the sixth time in his seven full seasons. He signed a one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer before the season and will be a free agent at year’s end.